Category: Books for Kids

Eat better, live healthier: ChopChop

I’m not going to bore you with facts and figures about childhood obesity in America, because we’ve all heard it before. What I will tell you is that there is little my kids enjoy more than receiving their own mail, and in particular, magazines addressed to them. The intersection of these two issues–on the one hand, a real problem when it comes to kids and food, and on the other, kids loving their own mags–is where the new quarterly magazine ChopChop comes into play. Research shows that one of the best ways to broaden kids’ palates and get them...

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What, me worry?

I have all sorts of tricks for when I worry too much, because I do worry — too much and too often. Worrying happens to be a family trait. Unfortunately, that means I have a pint-sized worrier in my own house, and he can’t self-medicate with Mad Men repeats and lots of chocolate (because I ate it all first). This is where handy self-help books can come in, provided they are, in fact, helpful. And I happen to have found one. What to Do When You Worry Too Much: A Kid’s Guide to Overcoming Anxiety  is an interactive book designed for kids somewhere between...

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The baby soft book pretty enough for mom’s dresser

Plastic. Polyester. Licensed characters. Slobbered-on ribbon. The sound of a toilet flushing with one press of a button, that becomes four million presses of a button–those soft baby books that pile up after the baby shower have always been strictly utilitarian. Until now. Our friends at Wee Gallery have knocked another shower gift out of the baby ballpark with their new accordian-style soft book, that looks more like a piece of art than a learning toy. Hand-made in India of beautiful, touchable silk and hand-loomed cotton, the soft book features six sassy Wee Gallery animals drawn in an artsy...

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A Bedtime for Bear. And, hopefully, your kiddo.

I am crazy about multitasking, and that includes at kid bedtime; when we read a book together, my child and I reconnect, plus I get to lie down, plus I get to work a little Mom Psychology 101. All that is made a little more golden when we have in our reading roster a book that lets us discuss something about which one of my children is worried, by pretending we’re discussing what someone else is worried about.   Bonnie Becker’s A Bedtime For Bear fits the bill; poor Bear is slightly stuffy; needs everything just so in order to sleep, only his sleepover...

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A book to make the bedtime routine easier on both of you.

I still crack up when people find a blog post of mine about sleep and babies, and ask me for advice. Me? Me who still, five years later, can’t get my kids into a normal bedtime routine? Me, who still has to sleep with a three year-old’s feet up my nose most nights? So I am ever grateful for those bedtime stories that get my girls excited to jump into bed–early, even–and the new Tuck Me In is certainly one of them. Tuck Me In is a clever, conceptual, interactive children’s book by dad (and ad agency refugee) Dean...

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Switching On The Moon

Though I was long ago (like, on day one) over the nightly battle that was part of our bedtime routine, I never, ever tired of the snuggly part, where we wrapped up and read as much as possible before admitting it was time for lights out. And I’m never tired, either, of solid, sweet children’s books that allow me to read in a soft, calm, sleep-inducing voice. Switching On the Moon is a poetry anthology gathered by Jane Yolen and Andrew Fusek Peters, with sweetly fuzzy illustrations by G. Brian Karas. It includes some sixty poems, but don’t expect nursery...

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Bob Dylan, children’s author

I admit, I feel just a little bit cool when my little girls walk into a store or a friend’s house, hear the radio, and immediately say, Hey! It’s Bob Dylan! So when I learned that one of his old tunes had been made into a brand new children’s book, I of course couldn’t wait to see it.  Man Gave Names to All the Animals does not disappoint, whether you’re a Dylan fan, or just like gorgeous illustrated books that children can loose themselves in. The simple, rhyming lyrics about cows and pigs and bulls that the singer penned...

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An Awesome Book. ‘Nuff said.

Let me give you 3 reasons why An Awesome Book by artist Dallas Clayton is indeed an awesome book: 1. For every book sold, The Awesome World Foundation will donate one book to schools, hospitals, camps, and shelters. 2. The artwork and story are original and compelling, and include rocket-powered pink unicorns. 3. Justin Timberlake likes it. I think this review has just written itself, but for the sake of awesomeness, I’ll go on. Clayton’s motives for penning the book are written in his bio on the website in poem form. To paraphrase, he likes to make beautiful things,...

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There are no small parts, only small children who are super cute playing Cinderella.

One of the most all-time hilarious family moments of ours was the time my mom (the awesome elementary educator) got my kids (the hams) into handmade masks and acted out Little Rabbit Foo Foo for the whole brood. Let’s just say a kid’s crayon interpretation of a “goon” isn’t necessarily what you’d think it is. I loved how my mother helped them bring the story to life through art and dramatization. So I was so thrilled to discover  a company helping you and your kids do just that, with classic children’s stories. The Now I’m Reading Plays are smart...

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Dear diary

Childhood diaries are always depicted as the tool of brooding, angry, angst-filled goth girls; more Heathers than Clueless. Personally, my own first journal was filled with a lot lighter fare. And a whole lot of bad rhyming poetry and original song lyrics. That’s why I was totally charmed by this My Life Rocks journal by Mudpuppy. Adrian Johnson’s graphics are adorable, the message is cheery,and the colorful lock still tells the world “keep out.” I figure, might as well make the most of those years before your daughter or your favorite niece would prefer a My Life Sucks journal....

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Read, write, learn, wipe, repeat.

I was absolutely blown away when my four year-old, in a single day, suddenly mastered lowercase letters. No thanks to me, of course. This time, all the credit goes to the new Brain Quest write and erase alphabet book. Filled with 40 pages of coated, wipe on/wipe off pages and complete with one of those dry erase pens (which argh, just make sure your kids keep it away from the couch), it’s such a clever new format from the folks who make some of the best workbooks in the world. The whole thing is the perfect size to tuck...

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Cool kid travel guides they’ll actually read

When we moved to Georgia, I tried to pad the transition with various books about what a great place it was and the interesting things that have happened here. My efforts were met with a resounding “meh” from my children. Hmph. Of course, the brand new Cool Stuff Every Kid Should Know city guides from Arcadia Kids weren’t around, back then, otherwise I could have gotten them the Atlanta book and totally won them over.   Even though we live here, now, both kids pronounced this little book “totally cool,” and why not? It’s chock-full of not just landmarks...

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The perfect gift for bookworms with authority

It was a red-letter day in our household when each child was old enough to get his or her own library card. They love picking out books, handing their card over to the librarian and then skipping out with their new reads. What they don’t love is listening to me hound them to find those books under their covers, inside the couch cushions or off the floor of the car when it’s book-return time.  But, now they’ve got a cool new kit that let’s them play library whenever they want, and it’s missing just the thing that bugs them...

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A girls’ guide to middle school mojo

We’re heading into our second year of middle school, here, and it’s been… interesting. It’s definitely a whole different ballgame than elementary school, particularly for girls, who tend to morph into social piranhas pretty early. Is your little darling feeling some trepidation about this new phase? No sweat! The creators of Girls’ Life magazine teamed up with Scholastic, and their Ultimate Guide to Surviving Middle School hits just the right notes in making junior high sound like a brave new adventure. It’s positive and energetic without veering into chirpy, and discusses everything from making new friends, to keeping your...

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The secret is out on these princesses

I’ve fought the princessification of my girls valiantly, as a mama who wants her girls to admire heroes who don’t wait around for some dumb prince to find their happiness. As you may guess, it didn’t work; they love princess everything, though I try to keep all the tiaras, gowns and storybooks confined to their very-pink bedroom. So why is The Secret Lives of Princesses front and center on my coffee table? [see the giveaway after the jump] If ever a princess book was made to appeal to grown-ups as well as their offspring, this is it. Originally written...

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Mommy, where do organics come from?

This here city mama is lucky that my children have grandparents in the country who grow tomatoes and kale and sweet peas and wild strawberries, so that they can learn that no, vegetables do not come from aisle 3. I’ve always thought that learning about food, from planting to harvest, was the best way to get kids interested in it. And, hopefully, eating it. So I was delighted to discover We Grew It, Let’s Eat It, an absolutely lovely book by NPR producer Justine Kenin. It’s the kind of book you’d expect to find in the most progressive preschool or...

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Ballet for beginners – and their wistful moms

As a budding young ballerina, I was simply in love with A Very Young Dancer by Jill Krementz. I used to just lose myself in those marvelous photos until the pages were as dog-eared as the copies in the used bookstores that now carry it. So when I saw the new Ballet for Beginners by Mary Kate Mellow and Stephanie Troeller, it brought me right back to that same place–dreaming that one day I’d be the girl being whisked off to the Kingdom of Sweets on a magic sleigh with a prince and a mouthful of marzipan Ballet For...

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The Dread Crew – What’s a summer reading list without pirates?

After falling in love with Canadian mom Kate Inglis’ writing at her personal blog Sweet Salty, it was no surprise to me that she’d write a book. But what I didn’t expect was that it would be the fantastically scrumptious morsel of kid fiction, The Dread Crew: Pirates of the Backwoods, now finally available in the USA. [see the giveaway after the jump!] The story begins with the pirates of the Dread Crew lost in the Maritime woods, with self-proclaimed pirate tracker, Eric Stewart, hot on their tail. We then follow his wonderful adventures, all of which are illustrated...

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Sandra Boynton introduces the best book character EVER

Sandra Boynton’s newest character in her newest book is the sweetest, funniest, cutest critter ever: My kid. And not because his sister drew him in with my missing Sharpie. I just love Are You A Cow?, a customizable (yes, customizable) board book by world-famous, best-selling children’s author Sandra Boynton. If you don’t recognize the name, you can still probably recite her books by heart– Oh Me Oh My Oh Dinosaurs, Barnyard Dance, and The Belly Button Book just to name a few. And now, your baby can gnaw on the perfect family heirloom, a board book featuring his name,...

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D is for Duuuuuude

There’s some sort of unspoken rule that a baby can’t be born until someone has purchased the little dude or dudette an ABC book. But let’s say you know some hipster, emo, goth, inked, or punk parents. Calming pastels and fuzzy bunnies are going to totally clash with that Clash onesie and those tiny checkerboard Vans. Allow me to introduce the Alternative ABCs by Dave Parmley, Eric Ruffing, and graphics by 13th Floor Designs. This totally sick board book is ready made for rock star parents and their cool little future guitarists and skateboarders. B for Bear? No way....

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Alphabeasties, not just for the next generation of Type Nerds

I run with a tough crowd of Type Nerds, the kind who can spend an hour discussing the joys of Helvetica, the horrors of Comic Sans, and play an iPhone game called “Cheese or Font” (yes, this really is a game).  But even for those of us who can’t tell a serif from a sans serif, you’ve gotta check out the Alphabeasties and Other Amazing Types alphabet book. It’s like no alphabet book I’ve ever seen and with three kids, that’s saying something.  Created by two Minnesota graphic designers, Sharon Werner and Sarah Forss, Alphabeasties features animals made from type,...

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Everybody needs a rock

Everyone always asks where we find children’s books, and the truth is, the best ones always come recommended by my mother. How lucky we are to have a teacher in the family! This past weekend, my four year-old grabbed Byrd Baylor’s  Everybody Needs a Rock off her bookshelf, and was instantly smitten. This lovely story is that rare one that doesn’t talk down to kids, it doesn’t speak in rhymes as it describes how important it is that every kid has one special rock in their lives. Even more than a tricycle. Even more than a three-room playhouse. The...

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Easy Readers

Even though I homeschool, I’m more than okay with farming out some subjects. Especially if my kids will do them happily on their own, instead of fighting with me for an hour. So, when Headsprout asked if my five year-old beginner reader would like to test out their phonics-based Early Reading Series, I jumped at the chance.  I know my son isn’t rushing over to the computer because of his innate love of phonics. Rather, it is the fact that the program makes it fun for him to practice things like his “ish” words. And this isn’t just a bunch...

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Girls Gone Green – Get ready to be inspired

I admit that when I first saw Lynn Hirshfield’s new book, Girls Gone Green, I mistakenly assumed it was a collection of tween and teen celebrities sharing how they use eco-conscious nail polish or consume locally grown avocados in their California Rolls vegetables prepared by their personal chef. Much to my surprise and delight, I was completely wrong. Instead, I found a fantastic compilation of stories from real live tween and teen girls who are making a huge difference on the eco frontlines. Take 10 year-old Millie Passacantando who is dedicated to saving polar bears, and has a thriving...

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How one coloring book can make hundreds of kids happy

My nephew was hospitalized at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia when he was around two and I am forever grateful to the amazing staff who helped cure him — and to all of the special facilities that help children. I guess that’s why I am so blown away by RxArt. This non-profit organization pairs up with some incredibly famous contemporary artists like William Wegman, Frank Stella and Sol LeWitt in an effort to transform sterile hospitals and outpatient centers into places popping with creativity and color.  There’s even a CAT scan machine designed by one of my favorite artists,...

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A few of my favorite things, now in flashcard form

More than 100 awesome baby gifts abound in our new Baby Shower Gift Guide, but if that isn’t enough for you, then you might want to add the new My Favorite Things Flash Cards to your wish list. Petit Collage creator Lorena Siminovich’s gorgeous designs are translated into 26 sturdy flashcards, with a picture and word for each letter of the alphabet. Aside from their lovely simplicity, the cards, which function equally well as educational entertainment for small hands and as a decorative nursery room accent, feature slightly atypical words compared to what you typically see in an alphabet...

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We built this city on nouns and verbs

The first thing I thought when I checked out the Grammaropolis website is that it’s like Grammar Rock and the Mr. Men books had an adorable love child. You’ve got the catchy music, the little cartoon parts of speech (the verb is a superhero ready for action, and the interjection kind of looks like a cheerleader), and then a variety of ways for kids to get their language on. Watch the video–my favorite part is when Gramma pops up to say thanks for the song and they’re all, No, Gramma, it’s not Gramma Ropolis, it’s Grammaropolis! You’ll only have...

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But, MY Teen Tells Me Everything. (Uh-huh.)

Why are we talking about teens? Because every single one of your tiny bundles of joy are going to grow up to be one, and you might as well know what you’re getting into. Trust me, you’re going to want to know this stuff. In 35 Things Your Teen Won’t Tell You, So I Will, Ellen Pober Rittberg gives us some tactics to use with our teens. Some of them seem pretty common sense, like Rule 10, Use your approval and disappointment, which I think parents generally do without thinking about it. Your child does something you don’t like?...

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Olivia – the book becomes a show becomes a book

We’re huge Olivia fans ’round these parts – the book is a well-worn favorite at bedtime, and the Olivia TV series is a special treat. So I was so happy to see a new book hit the shelves recently starring our favorite difficult swine – Olivia Acts Out. This story is actually based on the teleplay from the series, but it doesn’t matter a bit. It’s a cute story about Olivia trying to make the most of her lame part in the school play, reminding us that there are no small parts in theater, only small pigs. With more...

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A pocket full of books

Games on the iPhone are nice, having books on hand make you feel a little less guilty about trying to keep the kid occupied on mile-long supermarket checkout lines. Now you can always have books on hand without carting around pounds of hardbacks: PicPocket Books adapts great kids’ books for the iPhone, and they start at just a buck apiece in iTunes. You can read the stories aloud or turn on the built-in narration, and kids can learn along as each spoken word is highlighted, too. Sure, there’s a little bit of (subtle) animation, in some stories, and sometimes...

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